While the discussion about Bitcoin Core vs. Bitcoin XT carries on across the world, various mining pools have already implemented the block size changes proposed by Bitcoin XT. Judging from the latest BlockTrail API statistics, multiple “XT” blocks have been mined on the Bitcoin network, all of which are 8 MB in size. Is this a sign of things to come, or just a flash in the pan?
The Curious Case of Bitcoin XT Blocks
It is no secret that the discussion on whether Bitcoin XT is an altcoin or a proper way forward for the Bitcoin ecosystem will carry on for quite some time. Even though the actual block size change goes in effect as of January 2016, coming to a proper consensus before that date would be a step in the right direction.
What really makes this debate so interesting is that regular Bitcoin Core blocks, which are currently 1MB in size, can be mined on pools supporting the Bitcoin XT block size change. Similarly, Bitcoin XT blocks can be mined on mining pools that are running the Bitcoin Core daemon next to the Bitcoin XT client.
One of the things people seem to forget these days is that it is perfectly acceptable to support both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin XT at the same time. One client does not exclude the other, and both run on the exact same blockchain. However, as of January 2016, that situation might change, depending on which client will “win” the majority consensus vote.
For the time being, however, most major mining pools seem to be supporting both Bitcoin software clients, leading to interesting statistics as provided by BlockTrail. BTCChina Pool, for example, is running both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin XT clients, leading to block #370838 being 8MB in size, whereas block #370845 is a regular 1MB block.
Speaking of Bitcoin block #370838, the statistics provided by BlockTrail indicate that, even though this block has a Coinbase Size Vote of 8MB, it is not a BIP101 block. Furthermore, the 8MB size block only has 66 transactions stored inside, whereas the regular 1MB size block contained 1,760 transactions. These numbers do not represent anything though, but it was interesting to note how two blocks from the same pool of a different size can be affected.
Major Chinese Mining Pools in Favor of Bitcoin XT
A large portion of the Bitcoin mining community — roughly 75% — has shown indications of being in favor of switching to Bitcoin XT and 8MB blocks as of January 2016. This would explain who the world’s largest mining pools are, all of which are located in China, are running both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin XT daemons simultaneously.
One notably absent pool on the list of Bitcoin XT supporters is DiscusFish / F2Pool. While browsing to the pool’s latest solved blocks, none of them has a Coinbase Size Vote of 8MB, which seems to indicate the pool is not running a Bitcoin XT daemon at this time. However, it could also mean they are just extremely unlucky in finding 8MB blocks.
F2Pool is not the only pool not finding any 8MB blocks, however. BitFury’s pool, Ghash.io, Eligius and Kano CKPool do not seem to be running mining operations through the Bitcoin XT daemon at this point. Slush, one of the oldest Bitcoin mining pools in history, is actively finding BIP101 blocks, albeit they are not 8MB in size.
It will be interesting to see how the mining situation evolves as the deadline for a majority consensus decision draws closer. Most mining pools seem to be in favor of switching, as is quite a large portion of the Bitcoin community. But that doesn’t mean that those who oppose BIP101 should not be heard.
What are your thoughts on BIP101, and which client are you using right now? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Bitcoin XT, Shutterstock, BongBitcoin